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10 Jul 2012 14:57
Veteran Proteas wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has announced his retirement from international cricket after undergoing surgery on his left eye. (Getty)
Boucher was hit in the eye by a bail after an Imran Tahir delivery struck the stumps on Monday's opening day of a tour match against Somerset in Taunton.
Captain Graeme Smith read out a statement on behalf of Boucher.
"It is with sadness, and in some pain, that I make this announcement," it said.
"Due to the severity of my eye injury, I will not be able to play international cricket again.
"I had prepared for this UK tour as well, if not better than I have prepared for any tour in my career.
"I had never anticipated announcing my retirement now, but circumstances have dictated differently."
Boucher said he appreciated the support he had received from the public.
"For now I would like to thank the huge number of people, many of whom are strangers, for their heartfelt support during the past 24 hours.
"I am deeply touched by all the well wishes. I wish the team well in the UK, as I head home and onto a road of uncertain recovery."
Boucher (35) indicated before the tour that it was likely to be his last with the national team.
The selectors were to make an announcement regarding a replacement for him on Wednesday.
Limited overs skipper AB de Villiers, already on tour, could replace Boucher behind the stumps, but Thami Tsolekile, a Cricket South Africa contracted player, is expected to be called up.
Boucher made his debut for the Proteas as a 20-year-old against Pakistan in Sheikhpura in October 1997.
Since then, he has notched up a number of world records, including most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in Tests with 555.
He also stands on 999 international dismissals in all formats of the game.
He scored his first Test century, one of only five in his career, in his 16th Test against the West Indies in Centurion, in January 1999.
In his 38th Test, in March 2001, he became South Africa's most successful wicketkeeper with his 153rd dismissal against the West Indies in Port of Spain.
Boucher also captained the national side for a brief period in the 2002/03 season, filling in for regular captain Shaun Pollock who was injured.
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